After 15 years, slain girl’s family hopes for justice

After 15 years, slain girl’s family hopes for justice

Apr 01

Vanessa Valentino, a childhood friend of Deanna Cremin, gathered with many other friends and family for a candle light vigil near where Cremin was murdered 15 years ago. The vigil lasted for 15 minutes, one minute for each year since the murder, which is still unsolved.

By Auditi Guha

Wicked Local Somerville
Somerville — On March 26, Deanna Cremin would have been a 32-year-old woman.

On Monday evening, friends and family gathered in the pouring rain at a candlelight vigil on Jaques Street where Deanna had been murdered on March 30, 1995, four days after she celebrated her 17th birthday.

Sheltered by the trunk door of a van holding a small speaker and microphone, a tearful mother thanked friends and family for their support and pleaded for any information that could help solve the 15-year-old murder.

“We have kept her memory alive for 15 years. We just keep on going,” Katherine Cremin said in a shaky voice. “She was a wonderful young girl… None of us are going to give up until we have justice for Deanna.”

Despite the daunting weather, more than 60 people came out to participate in the 15-minute silence that followed – one minute for each of the years that she has been gone. Many wore ‘Justice for Deanna’ T-shirts.

“It’s heartwarming that we are not alone,” said Deanna’s sister Christine. “It’s like Deanna was everybody’s sister.”

Deanna’s cousin Stacy Wallace said that the unresolved case has been hard for a family that has been long praying for answers. “If you knew Deanna, you couldn’t understand why someone would do this to someone like her. She was such a kind, gentle girl, so full of life,” she said.

Deanna was a 17-year-old senior at Somerville High when her body was discovered behind a Winter Hill senior housing center on the morning of March 30, 1995. She had been strangled to death. Her mother last saw her taking the bus on Broadway the evening before. She was going to hang out at her boyfriend Tommy LeBlanc’s house but promised her mother she would be home by 9. Later, LeBlanc walked her home half way and no one knows what happened after. Her mother still cannot stop wondering if she was followed or why her daughter did not think of calling before walking home alone.

Her killer has never been found but the family continues to hope, trying everything from billboards to Internet petitions. The community has come together every year with wreaths, poems, a square named in her memory and a Web site detailing a scholarship and reward. A $20,000 reward is available for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect.

“The death of Deanna Cremin has been a major focus of the Somerville Police for 15 years,” said Deputy Chief Paul Upton who attended the vigil and urged folks to use the anonymous tip line TIP411 with the subject 617SPD to text them any tips.

“It’s an open investigation. We believe there are people out there who can help bring justice,” he said. “If you know anything, please do the right thing. We will investigate every single tip or lead in this terrible tragedy.”

Cremin echoed that, holding up a flickering taper that defied the wind and rain: “For justice in 2010.”